Is It Responsible to Anger the Muslim World?

February 14, 2008

Geert Wilder, leader of the Freedom Party in Holland, is planning on releasing a film called “Fitna” which is expected to be met with great outrage from the Muslim world. Given our experience with recent outrages, it is even likely that innocent people may die. So, the question is, is it responsible to release a film which many people believe will set off a violent reaction from Muslims?

Let’s look back in history for a moment. It could be argued that abolitionists’ criticism of slavery in the US was a major factor leading to the Civil War. Does this mean the abolishionists should not have spoken out against slavery?

Without having the opportunity to see the film as yet, my opinion is that so long as the film states facts and/or opinions that are grounded in facts or logic, and the film does not call for violence against innocent people, then it is responsible to release it, regardless of the consequences. In fact, if the Muslim world responds violently to honest criticism, this is evidence that Islam deserves criticism and should be criticized even more. We should then be seriously analyzing the question, “What causes these people to act in such an infantile manner?”

What would really be irresponsible would be for us to allow fear of violence to condition us to submit to fascist Islamic doctrines rather than speak out against them.

If we don’t give the Muslim world enough provocations to outrage them, they will fabricate their own.

[Note: I read this idea in an opinion piece recently, but was unable to find the posting to give credit for the idea. If anyone supplies the “missing link”, I will add it.] The power brokers in the Muslim world evidently want to provoke outrage amongst their people, because otherwise why would they fabricate outrages that did not otherwise exist? Here are three concrete examples in which this actually has or does occur: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Al Dura film, and the Mohammed cartoon controversy.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion: This is a thoroughly-exposed forgery of an alleged plot by Jews to take over the world. Originating in Russia in the late 19th century, most of it is plagiarized from an obscure French satire. However, it has been translated into Arabic and is widely disseminated throughout the Middle East today, used to fan the flames of Jew hatred.

Al Dura film: This film supposedly shows a Palestinian boy killed by Israelis, but there is good reason to believe that not only this film, but a great deal of Middle Eastern journalism, is fake. This phony event has been the rallying cry for the “al-Aqsa intifada”. However, it appears this bloody intifada was not a spontaneous uprising, but an orchestrated affair.

Mohammed cartoon controversy: Nearly everyone knows about this controversy, in which more than a hundred were killed in murderous Muslim riots following the printing of cartoons of Mohammed in a small Dutch paper. However, many are unaware that the Middle Eastern press who reprinted these cartoons about six months after the fact included an additional three cartoons, which were much more inflammatory than the ones actually published in Denmark. It appears that the Muslim mobs were deliberately enraged by people who didn’t think the real cartoons would be enough to do the job.

We should be asking ourselves, “What motivates the Muslim elite to intentionally and deceptively provoke their people?” Hint: It could have something to do with an Islamist agenda.

Is there any benefit to the West in provoking the Muslim world?

If the source of the provocation is honest criticism of Islam or Islamic doctrines, then yes, there is a benefit. In fact, this is the difference between the provocations that are fabricated by the Muslim power brokers and the ones that are generated by honest criticism by Westerners: the fabricated provocations have zero potential of benefiting the West. Honest criticism has the potential to defeat Islamo-Fascism, with much less violence than defeating it militarily. Here’s how:

  • It has the potential of influencing more Muslims to seek ways to reform their faith, or reform more effectively, or leave Islam altogether. This reduces the support within the Muslim world for the doctrines of Jihad and Sharia.
  • It has the potential of reducing conversions of non-Muslims to Islam. This is a huge benefit, as Western converts are targeted by terrorist recruiters.
  • It has the potential of increasing support for policies necessary to defeat Islamo-Fascism, such as: a Constitutional amendment explicitly stating that Sharia is not a valid source of law in the country; halting or drastically reducing immigration from Muslim countries; deporting Muslims who advocate Jihad or Sharia; allowing mosques and Islamic centers to be monitored; reversing the infiltration of Islamists into sensitive positions; and having a no-nonsense policy to prevent the spread of Islamism in prisons.

The more the “battlefield” can be shifted to the realm of ideas rather than the realm of military, the less violence there will be in the long run. It would be nice to have zero violence, but we do not have that choice available to us. A murderous rampage in the Muslim world may claim 100 lives; a change in policy to curb Jihad in the West may save 100,000 lives or more in the long run. No one really knows what the numbers would be one way or the other; we don’t get to do things twice to see how they play out. However, it appears certain that the casualties are less if we meet the Islamists and the apologists point for point where they are weakest: their ideology.

Is it important to avoid gratuitous insults?

A “gratuitous insult” is a statement that is more inflammatory than necessary to convey the truth or make a point. It is intentional rudeness.

I believe that, yes, it is important to avoid gratuitous insults. That is why I avoid them on this site. However, I do not shy away from telling the truth as I see it. For example, I have alluded to the fact that the Hadith and Sira include several accounts of Mohammed marrying a child (consummating the marriage at the age of 9 or 10). However, I have not labeled Mohammed a “pedophile”. This may seem like a fine line, but it’s the line I draw. I feel that the term “pedophile” is gratuitously insulting, while a dispassionate statement of facts is necessary for people to understand an uncomfortable truth that is relevant to a discussion of Islam. This is a fact that is embarrassing to Muslims, but that does not make it irrelevant, especially since child brides are all too common in the Muslim world today, including Muslims living within the West.

My reasons for avoiding gratuitous insults is not that I believe they are wrong, it’s that I believe they are ineffective. They turn people off who otherwise might be interested in what I have to say. In addition, they cause emotional hurt with no benefit. And besides that, I simply prefer a less inflammatory style.

However, others disagree with me about rudeness. Like it or not, it is common in ordinary political discourse for people to insult those with whom they disagree, or to use “strong language”. Islam has a political side, so the same rules of political discourse that apply to other political schools of thought should also apply to Islam. Just because Muslims or others dislike a person’s style of communicating does not mean that person should be hushed up, and it does not mean their point of view is invalid. Sometimes people make some good points impolitely. So, while I do think it’s important to avoid gratuitous insults, there are many things that are more important than that, such as learning the truth about Islam and Islamic doctrines.


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